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thoughts on Lite versions

04-04-2013, 10:34 PM
Joined: Sep 2011
Location: US
Posts: 119
thoughts on Lite versions

Hey guys. I was just wondering how a Lite version of your apps has effected your game sales.
04-05-2013, 04:14 AM
Joined: Jan 2013
Location: Moscow Russia
Posts: 15
I added IAP to Lite version to give the user the ability to turn on the full functionality - as on the paid version. I have no sales info yet - the game will be released soon.

04-05-2013, 08:44 AM
Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 952
Speaking as a buyer, 'lite' versions of games have only ever gained sales from me. Offhand, Trainyard, Wimp: Who Stole My Pants, Strategery and Bobbing are all games I've bought on the strength of the lite versions.

If you do it though, either make it so that the demo versions have different levels to the full versions (like Trainyard and Bobbing) or make it so that your progress transfers across (like in Wimp).
04-05-2013, 10:44 AM
Joined: Sep 2011
Location: US
Posts: 119
I might be able to share data across lite and Full, that is a really good idea though, but I was thinking of doing just the first area of my current game. it introduces all the mechanics, and gives an excellent feel for the game.
04-08-2013, 11:41 PM
I'd like to just give some input we've seen in our games and other games regarding free/lite + paid versions at the same time... as always though, its just what I've seen, so take it all with a grain of salt - there are always counter examples to every scenario in the app store

For one, I think its important to distinguish between the 2 types of free versions... the types that are meant to push players towards the paid version, and the types that are meant to be like stand-alone versions that are monetized on their own (with unlock IAPs, or separate monetization, etc). I've seen examples of both working, but they there really is a lot of nuance in how to set up each one correctly... if you're trying to push people towards your paid version for ex, unlock IAPs or other haphazard IAP thrown in the mix will probably not achieve what you're trying to do. Slenderman Rising Free is a great example of a free version that drove people to the paid version, and had a noticeable impact when it first launched (catapulting that game into the top 5 for quite a while). Minecraft Lite is another top example of doing a great job pushing people towards the paid.

Or in the case of games like Words with Friends and many others, you can have free versions that are completely monetized on their own. Many top games have both their paid and free versions being in the top grossing charts (essentially earning double the profit for the same game), once again showing that the markets for free and paid games are very separate.

Another thing, again just from what I've seen at least, is that it seems like a lite/free version will have success that is directly proportional to the current success of the paid version... Obviously there is some give and take there, but generally speaking it looks like there is some sort of correlation there. Which means that if your game is in the pits, its probably not likely that a free version will do much of anything. It'll most likely have a very short spike in maybe a few thousand downloads, quickly tapering off into the hundreds, if not less... depending on where your game is.

Our latest experiment is with Heroes and Castles Free... just some background stats, the paid version of H&C peaked at #18 top games in US, and has been sitting around the 300-500 games spot for its initial longtail. Not bad at all. The free version gets ~5-7k downloads a day now. We chose to monetize the free version on its own, as this game is just better suited for that, and because we know that H&C had an excellent conversion rate for IAP. We're getting a 1-2% conversion rate any given day with the free version, which is really quite good I think. Its at least something tangible There has been no impact on the paid version... but also keep in mind that 5k downloads a day is for all practical purposes miserable for a free game. For a free game to really start making noise you need 50-100k downloads a day, from our experience... at least initially for a few days (it will inevitably taper down after a while).

Anyway, moral of the story: from our experience if your game is sucking, a lite version won't help. If your game is doing well, you might be able to feed off of its buzz and have a lite/free version do well enough to have an impact (either making money on its own or driving users back to paid version). In either case, I haven't seen a scenario where a lite version HURT one of our games. You can always pull it off the app store if you see any sort of cannibalization or anything like that...
04-09-2013, 12:51 PM
Joined: Dec 2012
Location: Drummondville, Qc, Canada
Posts: 438
Originally Posted by Foursaken_Media View Post
... Heroes and Castles Free numbers ...
Thanks for sharing. I was thinking of doing the same with my game so hearing it doesn't cannibalize toward the paid version is good news. I'll also share my numbers when/if I go that road.

Did you do anything special to get those downloads on the free version? As obviously it wasn't picked up by price drops sites or such.

Dungeon Plunder: an iOS Roguelike - Play for free now! Follow the updates on Twitter and on Facebook.
TA Forum Thread? Right here. Soundtrack is on iTunes

Last edited by DungeonPlunder; 04-09-2013 at 01:10 PM.
04-09-2013, 04:31 PM
Joined: May 2012
Location: In the Chatroom
Posts: 15,519
As a gamer, I love having lite versions. But it seems the trend nowadays by developers to be going more to a freemium based model, and the lite trend seems to already be about one year old in terms of popularity.

I am still hopeful that devs in the future will go the premium/lite release mode, but I can understand that it is tougher to maintain 2 versions of the same app, and that a lite is kind of a double edge sword.

Double edged, in that, if your game is not so good, people won't buy it. So it actually may hurt sales in some ways. A really good game probably has good pr and word of mouth, so may not need a lite version too.

But I am hopeful as a gamer, that lite versions will make a comback in the future.
04-09-2013, 05:19 PM
Joined: Sep 2011
Location: US
Posts: 119
the main reason I wondered is because I have had my initial launch, which did very respectable and surpassed my expectations, but it has come to the tale end of around 10 downloads a day and I wondered if a free version, which I would probably do in a more demo sense to push people to the paid version, would give a healthy boost to the game. Also I am not really pushing people towards an expensive app. I launched at 99 cents and will probably stay there. I wonder if lite versions have a better conversion rate, for the more expensive games.